Winter Blues

Believe it or not, winter is right around the corner. It is time to start thinking about winter jackets. By looking at what is coming off the runway, we have many trends to choose from this winter season.

1.) Classic – The classic winter coat is the peacoat. It has a simple straight look and it’s popular every year. For more of an edgy feel, look for the peacoat with brass buttons which give the coat a military look. Old Navy has a great selection of peacoats such as single and double-breasted, high and low collars, and long and short lengths. All coats are under $100, but look out for sales. Old Navy has 50 percent off outerwear sales throughout the season.

Old Navy - Cropped Military Peacoat $49

2.) Boyish – Lately, women’s fashion has been becoming more masculine. Ties and tuxedo jackets are now items for woman to wear. Winter coats for this season have been inspired by men’s fashion. Oversized, cargo and toggle coats can be expected for this season. Delia’s offers an assortment of men-inspired hooded toggle coats for a great price.

Delia's- Hooded Toggle Coat $69

3.) Feminine – Ruffles and frills can add a girlie element to anything. For a more feminine look, try a coat with a belt to show off your shape, or an embellished hood to show off your girlie side. Forever 21 sells a great spangled crop jacket, which is full of silver sequins and will definitely add a girlish touch to any outfit.

Forever 21 - Spangled Crop Jacket $32

4.) Leather – Long live the bomber jacket, especially when it is leather, or pleather for that matter. Faux leather is very big this season, and also costs less money compared to buying the real thing. Wet Seal has faux leather jackets that come in many styles and colors for under $35. For that price you could get two, because who doesn’t love a biker chick?

Wet Seal - Belted Crop Moto Jacket $34

5.) Texture Overload – Fur, tweed, leather, and silk- it’s all about the textured coats. The multiple texture trends came unexpectedly and should be worn as a statement piece. Silk comes along with fur and knitwear and even sequins and leather make a perfect combination. Sound crazy? It does. And it does look a bit crazy, too.


With these new styles you will be sure to stay warm this winter while looking great, too!


A Work of Art

In this blog I talk a lot about fashion and money, and I recently came across a mix between the two. A friend introduced me to the work of Susan Stockwell who creates wearable works of art. The colonial dresses are made out of currency and maps, and the amount of detail in each dress is extraordinary.  Susan Stockwell’s biography states that the work takes many forms from small elaborate studies to large scale installations, sculpture, drawings and collage. It is concerned with issues of ecology, geo-politics, mapping, trade and global commerce. The materials used are the everyday, domestic and industrial disposable products that pervade our lives.

These dresses are such beautiful works of art I wanted to share them with you, in hopes that you all can appreciate the detail and the work put into each one.

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*All images in the slideshow come from


From Trash to Treasure

Never underestimate a thrift store. There are hidden gems waiting to be loved again. As you know, I like to dig through the racks to find cheap thrills from my past posts on The Glassboro Thrift Village and The Buffalo Exchange. Today I will show you a great find close to my home, The Calico Cat Thrift Shoppe of Middletown, New Jersey. I met two young customers who shared their shopping experience with me. I learned from long time customers and first timers. It was great to see how this one local thrift store attracted all types of people.

There is something to be said about thrift stores that are run by a church. The Calico Cat Thrift Store is kept in great shape, it is run by the most caring parishioners, and the whole mission is to help those in need. The day I went to visit, the shoppe had a large donation of Vera Bradley bags and wallets. These are high ticket items for a thrift store which were at a discounted price that were flying off the shelves by those who wanted to help the community.

Most thrift store proceeds do go to some sort of charity. So when you shop at one, your not only getting a great deal and saving money,  but your helping support a wonderful cause. And to that, I will shop some more. Happy Thanksgiving.

Are You Black Friday Ready?

The day is fast approaching, the frugal fashionista’s high holy day of the year, Black Friday. If you’re like me, this day is better than Christmas or any birthday. It is the shoppers Super Bowl. I don’t care about the flat screen TV’s or the newest video game system on sale; I care about the clothes.

To get the most out of Black Friday, it is important to plan ahead. Do not walk into a store blind. Before you venture out into the chaos, think about what you want. Are you getting a head start on your Christmas shopping or are you buying for yourself? Planning ahead like this will save you money and avoid impulse purchases.

The Black Friday ads will not be in print until Sunday Nov 20 in the paper, but you can get a sneak peak of the ads online. 2011 Black Friday Ads is a great place to start. It gives you a list of stores and their Black Friday deals. Also look for stores printable coupons, such as Macy’s, offering a $10 off coupon on Black Friday between certain hours.

Getting some of the best deals may mean skipping out on Thanksgiving dessert. Some stores are opening at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night. And all the best deals are in the wee hours of the morning. Outlet malls are a great place to shop, the designer and outlet stores are practically giving their merchandise away.

I have always dreamed of a real leather jacket, and last Black Friday was when I finally got it. I scored a Calvin Klein black leather jacket, normally $500, for $150. This wasn’t too frugal of me, but how could I pass up a deal like that? A leather jacket is always in style, especially a real one, and I will have it for the rest of my life. I never regretted my decision. This steal was possible because I was in the market for real leather and Calvin Klein had everything in the store on sale plus the sales associates were handing out 10 percent of your entire purchase coupons when customers walked in. I planned, I did research, and I scored. I can only hope that this Black Friday will be as successful as my last.

If you choose to spend more time with the family at Thanksgiving and not to venture out, don’t worry, there is always Cyber Monday.

Good luck shoppers!

Here are some of my favorite places to shop:

Target opens at 12 midnight

Old Navy opens at 12 midnight

Kohls’s opens at 12 midnight

Cherry Hill mall opens at 5 a.m. (with some stores opening at 12 midnight)

Jersey Shore Outlets opens at 12 midnight (with some stores opening at 10 p.m.)

Art Nails

Color on your nails can add spark to any outfit.  That’s why I love getting a professional manicure done at a salon. Now that I am away at school, I am finding it harder to spend the $15 each week for it, let alone, find time to get to the salon. It is hard for me to paint my own nails, I always do a crappy job. But I found something new that can change all that!

Sally Hansen makes a product called “Salon Effects”, which is a peel and apply manicure. It runs for about nine dollars at drugstores and comes in all colors and prints. The prints are flowers, sparkles, leopard, lace and more. The best part is that there is no drying time, just peel, apply and shape to your nail.

I use these often and they are very easy to put apply. The kit comes with cuticle stick, mini file, and buffer. The stickers come in all sizes and will have enough to cover each fingernail and with some left over, all of which are included in the set.

Contents of kit - Photo credit Amanda Willis

Select the best fitting strip for each nail. Then remove the clear protective plastic, then peel the polish strip from the backing paper. -Photo credit Amanda Willis

Place strip against cuticle line. Hold the strip at the center for maximum control. Also, apply pressure to nail to make sure polish is secured. - Photo credit Amanda Willis

Using the smooth side of the nail file, smooth out any bumps and gently file away the excess polish strip around the edge of the nail. - Photo credit Amanda Willis

Final product! No drying time needed, salon quality results for half the price. The polish will last for ten days and can be removed with nail polish remover. -Photo credit Amanda Willis

Compare and Contrast

Do I have a deal for you!

Being that I am an avid online shopper, I know how to find a bargain. I was recently in the market for oxford boots for fall. It seems as if every store has them this year, so I started to shop around, and this is what I found.

Steve Madden $80

Old Navy $34

Wet Seal $32.50

The Steve Madden boots are beautiful, but I can’t spend that much on shoes I will only wear for one season. The Old Navy and Wet Seal options are the better deal. There are equally as adorable but for a way cheaper price. In the end, it pays to shop around.

Frugal Find: Buffalo Exchange

I had my first experience in a Buffalo Exchange recently, and I fell in love.

For those of you who don’t know, Buffalo Exchange is a hip thrift store, that are popping up all over the country. My experience was at their Philadelphia location. My boyfriend was the one who told me about it, and judging by his sense of “style” I was skeptical. And plus, I thought I had known of every clothing store ever, so why didn’t I ever hear of this?

Oh boy, was I mistaken.

We walked into the Chestnut Street location on a cold day with more thoughts about the coffee I was holding rather than this store. We passed the cash register and a nice young woman greeted us at the door. Before I could make a judgment on the store, my eyes caught beautifully dressed manikins placed on a high shelf. I thought to myself, “I’d wear that. No, I love that outfit, I need it!”

I began going through the first rack of clothes I could find as my boyfriend drifts into the men’s section. I find skirts and shorts. And I could not believe what I was seeing.  These are name brand clothes for a discounted price. This is not your grandma’s thrift store!

The more labels I see, the more excited I get. There are Urban Outfitters brands, with the tags still on the item for less than half the price. I find a BDG black flare skirt for $8. I’m hooked. I ditch the coffee to be able to have two free hands to dig.

On to more racks, I find Gap, Ann Taylor, Express, Calvin Klein, and more. The clothes were clean, in good condition, and fairly new. I could not get over the prices! Everything was so cheap. I find a grey sweater for $12. (To match the skirt, of course.) I also find a black Bloomingdales scarf, and an emerald Pashmina scarf both for $10. Did I mention I was hooked?

Not only was their selection of clothing impressive, they had shoes too, everything from heels, to boots and sneakers. I understand that wearing someone’s used shoes is gross, but these shoes did not look worn at all. I decided to pass on buying the shoes, because I loved my scarves too much.

As I walk back to the cash register, I have a feeling that I missed something, but I have already spent too much time in here and my boyfriend less than thrilled with me.

I notice a long line at the register, and the woman who had greeted us at the door asked, “Are you buying or selling?” Confused by her question I say “buying”, she proceeds to ring me up before this line of people, then tells me that Buffalo Exchange will buy unwanted clothes, which explains the long line. She goes on to tell me that they are not a consignment shop, but are quicker than that. Anything the Buffalo Exchange does not purchase, you can take back. If they do accept the items, you have option to either sell or trade.

In that moment, this place had gotten better and better, not only do they sell a great assortment of young, hip clothes, but also they will buy your unwanted clothes. Needless to say, I will be returning to Buffalo Exchange very soon and suggest you all go check it out.

A complete outfit for $30. Photo credit Amanda Willis